A Norwegian professor of international affairs has drawn parallels between the European Union discussion in Iceland, and how it was in Norway.
Iver B. Neumann of the University of Osló told RÚV that much like in Norway at the time, Iceland’s current EU debate has a distinct “us versus them” vibe to it. Countries within the EU are regarded not as potential partners but as threats to the country’s way of life.
Neumann, who is currently in Iceland to discuss EU matters in Norway, told reporters he was surprised by just how little discussion on the matter there is right now, consider the government has already begun formal accession talks with EU leaders.
For his part, he predicts that the outcome of an Icelandic referendum on joining the EU – a necessary step if Iceland and the EU agree in the end to join – will result in a very close call.
Norway’s government twice tried to join the EU, but the measure was twice rejected in referendum, the last time in 1994. In fact, some EU leaders have grumbled that the same thing might happen with Iceland. Neumann does not believe Norway will attempt to join the EU again, as their economic situation is very different from Iceland’s.